Marks of a Gospel Movement: “God’s Temple Is All of His People”

Passage: Acts 2:1-13
Guide for Group Discussion or Personal Reflection

Sermon Summary

In a gospel movement, God moves through every one of his ordinary, yet Spirit-filled people. In ancient societies, people would build temples on high places, and these temples acted like “hotspots” of God’s presence on earth—places where God chose to dwell with people. In Acts 2:1-13, however, God chooses to dwell not in a physical building, but in each one of his people. The Holy Spirit descends on each one of the apostles with a sound like a “mighty rushing wind,” filling each of them with power and enabling them to proclaim the “mighty works of God” in many languages. The church, therefore, is the temple of God’s presence. This means that every single Christian is empowered by God to serve his mission, no matter how ordinary they feel. Every one of us has gifts, talents, experiences, or resources to bring to the table in a gospel movement.

This also means we have great access to God. Unlike the priests who could only go partly into God’s presence, we have all been declared Holy by God. This should remind us that God desires to be close to us and should make us want to be close to him in return. It should also make us take each other seriously. Every one of us is either a mobile “temple” of God’s own presence, or a potential one!

People responded to God’s Spirit-filled representatives differently—some were amazed, others were perplexed, and others mocked—but everybody had a response. How will we respond to the God who chose to come close to us, through Jesus, at such great cost to himself?

Sermon Outline

  • The Church is the Temple of God’s Presence (2:1-4)
  • We Have Great Access to God (2:5-13)

Group Discussion & Personal Reflection Guide

Re-read the passage (Acts 2:1-13)

The Church is the Temple of God’s Presence (2:1-4)

Q) INTRO: This passage, which takes place at Pentecost, involves God coming to dwell in ordinary people through his Holy Spirit. When do you feel most ordinary? Have you ever felt too ordinary to be greatly used by God?

Q) Re-read Acts 2:1-4. How is the coming of the Holy Spirit described? What signs and physical phenomena accompany the coming of the Holy Spirit? What do you think these physical signs are meant to communicate about the Holy Spirit and being indwelt by him?

Q) What are some practical implications of the truth that God chooses to dwell in each of his people, rather than in a physical temple? How does this change the way you view worship? How does it change the way you view community? How does it change the way you view God’s mission?

Q) Acts 2:3 says that “divided tongues of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.” Every single Christian is indwelt and empowered by God’s Holy Spirit, and therefore we can all contribute to God’s mission. Do you think that we as a church tend to embrace or obscure this truth? How so?

Q) Pastor Bobby said that every one of us had something to bring to the table, to further a gospel movement. What do you think God has given you to uniquely contribute? You might think in terms of:

  • A spiritual gift or talent you can use (e.g. hospitality, administration)
  • A material possession you can share (e.g. house, finances)
  • Certain training you’ve been equipped with (e.g. biblical training, EMT training)
  • Life experience(s) you’ve had that can help others (e.g. experiencing bereavement, being an immigrant)
  • Relationships you can invest in, or communities you have access to (e.g. being connected to schoolteachers, the running community, being a Beverly Farms resident)

We Have Great Access to God (2:5-13)

Q) Re-read Acts 2:5-13. What did the Holy Spirit first help the disciples to do? What was the effect on the community from every nation that had gathered in Jerusalem? Why is this significant?

Q) In Acts 2:5-13, every one of the disciples who was filled with the Spirit began immediately declaring “the mighty works of God” (2:11). What does this tell us about the role of the Holy Spirit?

Q) Pastor Bobby reminded us that we have great access to God, because he is present with us wherever we go. Where do you need to remember God’s presence with you this coming week?

Q) What were some of the different reactions people had to the apostles’ Spirit-filled preaching, in verses 6-13? Why do you think people responded so differently?

Q) Can you think of a friend or acquaintance of yours who is not a follower of Jesus, but who would be encouraged to know that God chooses to dwell with ordinary people? In what real-life circumstance might this truth come up? How might you share this with them?

Additional Application Questions

Q) How else would you like to engage with God this week?

Q) How can you tangibly care for those in your community this week, both inside and outside of the church?

Prayer

Spend time praying for yourselves, our church community, the North Shore community, and our nation and world—particularly those most vulnerable.

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